Return to Content

Boston, MA: Kara Rainey

Yankee Plus Dec 2015


Boston, MA: Kara Rainey
0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)
Print Friendly

In October 2005 Kara Rainey returned home to Roslindale, Massachusetts, from three weeks in New Orleans, where she’d volunteered for the American Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The 37-year-old mother took a deep breath, looked around, and realized she’d like to change how she directed her volunteer work. “I wanted to focus on something more local,” she says. “I wanted to work more in my community.”

Her search brought her to Boston’s Home for Little Wanderers, the nation’s oldest child and family services agency. The nonprofit, whose history dates back to 1799, works with thousands of Massachusetts children and families each year, offering programs that range from adoption work to special-needs care. A big part of its work includes running a group home in the Mission Hill neighborhood for a dozen kids between the ages of 8 and 13, all of whom are contending with complex family issues. Most have moved a lot, bouncing among group and foster homes.

The place has become a second home of sorts to Rainey, too, who’s there weekends, teaching art, or organizing field trips that get kids to museums, out hiking, or even learning how to juggle. It’s a 10- to 15-hour commitment each week, something she doesn’t skip, even though last February she lost her job as an accountant with JPMorgan Chase. “These kids, they’re surrounded by social workers, lawyers, clinicians, whose job it is to deal with them,” Rainey says. “That’s not my job. Nobody’s paying me to be with them. They’re learning about what it means to earn friendship.”

On one recent Sunday, Rainey leads five kids through Boston’s Museum of Science. Her enthusiasm–she peppers her language with phrases like “Right on!” and “lovie”–is infectious. She’s easygoing, without losing her sense of authority over the group, which includes pretty 12-year-old Riley (her name has been changed here to protect her privacy), who has a fondness for pink (T-shirt, sandals, hair clips) as well as for Rainey, her mentor over the past two years. They’ve gone to Red Sox games and the ballet, they’ve sat courtside at the 2008 Celtics championship ceremony, they’ve gone camping, and they’ve shared more than a few meals. “She has a taste for fine dining,” says Rainey, with a laugh, “which is a hurdle.”

But it’s evident that Rainey wouldn’t have it any other way. “People tend to think that volunteering means being in a kitchen or something,” she says, trailing after the kids, who are in search of the museum’s musical stairs. “But there are ways to get involved that use your talents. There are lots of opportunities out there, especially working with kids.”

Learn more: 888-466-3321, 617-267-3700;

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Tags: , ,

Special 2 for 1 Holiday Sale

Send a one-year gift subscription of Yankee Magazine for only $17.99 and give a 2nd one-year gift subscription absolutely FREE. Plus, we will send you a FREE 2016 Scenes of New England Calendar (a $9.95 value)!


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

We reserve the right to remove or edit comments that are offensive or disrespectful to our readers and/or writers, cannot be verified, lack clarity, or contain profanity. Your comments may be republished by Yankee Magazine across multiple platforms.

Register Sign In

©2015, Yankee Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Yankee Publishing Inc., | P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444 | (603) 563-8111

< Prev

Angels Among Us 2009

Kara Rainey has been a regular volunteer with Boston's Home for Little Wanderers since 2005. Mentoring, companionship, and getting kids out and about on field trips are all part of her mission. A metal sculptor herself, she also teaches art classes at one of the nonprofit's group residences.Yankee Magazine proudly recognizes the "Angels Among Us 2009." Congratulations to these dedicated New Englanders ...

Related Articles

Next >

Vershire, VT: Wynona Ward

The American Bar Association calls attorney Wynona Ward a "road warrior" in the fight against child and spousal abuse. She heads a nonprofit practice whose lawyers travel across Vermont providing support services to victims of domestic violence.Every year Wynona Ward, founder and executive director of Have Justice Will Travel (HJWT), a ...

Related Articles